With series like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Lucifer finding themselves on the chopping block, Google searches for “how to bring back a cancelled TV show” presumably skyrocketed in 2018. Fortunately for those desperate viewers, there have been a litany of shows saved from cancellation by fans and fan campaigns. In certain circumstances, the public can undo the decisions of television networks and executives if they complain loud enough for long enough with enough passion.
Television series get cancelled for a multitude of reasons, but one of the biggest factors can be a perceived lack of interest. When viewers go to extreme lengths to campaign for their favorite shows, it demonstrates to networks the fan interest exists, and that can be enough to save a show.
Whether the series is uncancelled on its original network or picked up by a different channel, the end result is the same: more of what fans want. Who can argue with that?
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
Family Guy is one of the most successful animated programs of all time, but it experienced a few major bumps on the road to triumph. Fox cancelled the series twice, with the first decision coming after the second season and being quickly reversed.
Following the third season, however, the show was cancelled for real, and it took the actions of dedicated fans to bring it back for another (still ongoing as of 2018) run. Once Fox called it quits, the show's creators offered the series to Cartoon Network free of charge, provided they advertise the Family Guy DVD compilations as well. Fans bought DVDS and tuned in to watch the reruns in record numbers, prompting Fox to bring the show back yet again in 2004.
Buoyed by the cancellation and resurrection of Brooklyn Nine-Nine earlier in the year, fans of the comic book-inspired Lucifer launched their own #SaveLucifer campaign in 2018.
While the movement didn’t pick up nearly as much steam as #SaveB99, it did draw enough attention to actually set off a bit of a bidding war between streaming services. Netflix ultimately won out and brought Lucifer over to their service for a fourth season, meaning the series went from being axed to being fought over in a matter of weeks - all thanks to the passionate complaints of its devoted fanbase.
- Photo: Sony Pictures Television
Although the comedy series Community had a dedicated fanbase from the beginning, the show has plenty of experience with the brink of cancellation. Due to infighting between creator Dan Harmon and NBC, the series was nearly axed on numerous occasions, and Harmon himself was fired and then brought back a season later.
When the show was actually cancelled after its fifth season, it seemed like an inevitability, but fans still clamored for more. The season pulled between 2.5 and 4 million viewers per episode, leading Yahoo, a new entrant on the streaming scene, to jump in and give the show a proper final season, using Community’s popularity as a way to promote their Yahoo! Screen service.
- Photo: Netflix
Arrested Development has been described by some as the greatest sitcom in television history, but it also set an impressive record for television hiatuses. After just three seasons, Fox “blue” it, ending the show on a cliffhanger and leaving angry fans praying the decision would be reversed.
The show remained in limbo for an astonishing seven years before Netflix decided to purchase the rights and begin producing new seasons. Arrested Development picked up right where it left off, and will likely remain on Netflix for years to come.